Category Archives: Recipes

Monkey Bread!

20160208_154046[1] (1600x1060)No one knows why it has the name it does although there is no shortage of guesses.  Google led me through several articles that all seemed to be cribbing from the same page.  There is a tree called a monkey puzzle tree with bark that looks sorta kinda like one of these things if you squint just right.  I won’t be bothered to care much one way or another.  Mrs J remembers seeing these made using canned biscuit dough but we went with scratch made from this recipe.20160208_170917 (1600x1060)This one appears to be pretty close to what we were looking for.  We had a tray under it but didn’t need it to catch any sugar bubbling out but it did make it easier to handle.  Give it a few minutes to cool, then turn it over onto a platter.20160208_171012 (1600x1060)Wait too long and it will be glued in there pretty tight.  Mix the powdered sugar for the glaze while you wait those few minutes for it to cool.DSC_1798 (1600x1060)It wouldn’t hurt to add a drop or two of vanilla to the glaze but we didn’t do that.  I’m thinking various other additions to the sugar might be gilding the lily but I have some maple extract that might have played a role were I not old and forgetful.DSC_1799 (1600x1060)We, and by “we” I mean “I”, tore into it right away.  You may wish to wait a wee bit longer than I did but the burns on my fingers will heal.  No worries!

Tidbits

DSC_1775 (1600x1060)I did this one today and pretty much made it up as I went along.  I had a cauliflower that I needed to use and dithered about some before deciding to slice it and roast it with an onion and whole garlic cloves – seasoned with kosher salt and olive oil.  The meal needed some additional carbs so the wide egg noodles went into a post to boil.  A cheese sauce seemed perfect to tie it together, Parmesan garlic sounded good.  I reduced a hunk of slab bacon to lardons and crisped those up.  Worked out great!  Needs a name…DSC03143 (1600x1200)Here’s a kitteh!  He’s named Chase and is 2 years old.  Shelter staff mentioned he may have some Himalayan in him but I’m not seeing it, myself.  Mrs J notes that he is sitting in one of her newly sewn cat beds.DSC_1774 (1600x1060)Fried chicken is not a thing I can do very well but I do give it a shot now and again.  I go through spells where I just have to have bean salad and I tend to keep adding another can of whatever bean I can find to the container as it is eaten, adding additional vinegar and oil to the vinaigrette as needed.  The mixture evolves over time, naturally.DSC03137 (1600x1200)Moar kitteh!  This is Ringo, a 3 year old long haired boy.  Mrs J said he is a real sweetie.DSC_1764 (1600x1060)Mmm… steak, with roasted sprouts in a balsamic glaze, half of a huge potato, garlic bread, and a salad.DSC03146 (1600x1200)Last kitteh – this is Chevy, he’s 6 months old and has half his tail missing do to an accident.DSC_1768 (1600x1060)I’ll close out with a sloppy joe.  This one has a bit of shredded cheddar and a spoonful of my own giardiniera.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Super Bowl Sunday Chili and Nachos

JeffreyW's Awesome Nachos

JeffreyW’s Awesome Nachos

It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday, when you sit down to stuff your face with favorite snack foods, drink beer and watch the Super Bowl Commercials.  I think there is some football in there somewhere.

I’ve been gone all day. Today was the first day I’ve left Bixby alone all day out of his crate. I’ve been working up to it a few hours at a time. I’m happy to report he did great, nothing out of place when I came home. Good puppy!

I decided after a busy day, the easiest way to do this tonight was to pull together all the recipes we’ve done over the years for Super Bowl. I’m happy with a variety and chips and dips myself. But this is a recipe exchange so I know you expect more.

You can’t go wrong with nachos – easy and easy to pile high with your favorites ingredients.

Here’s a kinda healthy version: Black Bean and Corn Nachos, recipe here.

JeffreyW gets a little more creative with his pizzas, here , herehere  and if you want to see them all, here (the man does love a good pizza).

For something a little different, Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe is here.

Now it’s your turn, what are you planning on making this Sunday and more importantly what beer are you serving?  Do you make chicken wings or buy them from a favorite place? Most importantly, Broncos or Panthers?

Tonight’s featured recipes – one traditional, one a bit more creative:

Quick and Easy Chili

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3-5 Jalapenos finely chopped (depending on heat)
  • 1/2 green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed and chopped
  • Lg. can V8 Juice
  • 2 cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 can Original Ro-Tel
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika

Brown ground beef and drain. Saute jalapenos, green pepper, onion and garlic. In large pot combine all ingredients bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered for at least 30 minutes.

In my house we serve chili with fritos and shredded cheddar, layered in a bowl – fritos, chili, cheese and more fritos.

Slow Cooker instructions:  Following instructions above, add everything to slow cooker, cook on high for 15 minutes, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 6 to 8 hours.

Also, if you are serving at a party, you can cook in large pot above for 30 minutes and then transfer to slow cooker on low or warm to keep it hot during the festivities.

Looking for a little more kicked up chili? Check out JeffreyW’s Chorizo Chili here.

And my favorites to take to a party:

Basic Tortilla Pinwheels

  • 1 (8 ounce) package whipped cream cheese
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup chopped ham slices

You spread the ingredients on the tortillas, roll them up and slice them into 1 inch pinwheels. Couldn’t get much easier.

So how do we add some dazzle? Flavored tortillas and a variety of fillings.

Here are some ideas I had:

Jalapeño & Cilantro Tortillas and Black Bean Tortillas

  • Cream Cheese
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Sliced green chilies
  • Turkey
  • Salsa
  • Black olives
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Tortillas and Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Tortillas

  • Cream cheese mixed with crushed roasted garlic
  • Spinach
  • Pepperoni
  • Grated parmesan

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend! – TaMara

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Snow Alert Means Soup Time: Hearty Spinach-Tomato

Spinach Tomato Soup

French Toast Alert System may be activated, but I have my own comfort snow foods. Big pot of soup on the stove:

Tomato-Spinach Soup

  • 1 lb ground beef (or 1/2 ground beef, 1/2 spicy Italian sausage)
  • 1/4 of a small onion, chopped
  • 24 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, cleaned
  • 8 oz sliced carrots (I use frozen)
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup water, more as needed
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan for garnish
  • spinach chiffonade for garnish

blender, saucepan

In saucepan, brown ground beef and onions. In a blender, blend together spinach and tomatoes, until smooth*.  Add to beef mixture, along with vegetables and spices.  Bring to low boil, stirring frequently, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Serve with Parmesan and spinach chiffonade.  Makes 4 generous servings.

*Blending the spinach, tomatoes together gives you a nice hearty tomato base for the soup.  You can add some additional spinach leaves at the end if you like, letting them get limp but not overcooked.

French Toast Alert System Raised To HIGH!

Rolled Stuffed French Toast Final

The French Toast Alert System has been raised from Elevated to High, as we are expected to get anywhere from 6 to 15 inches of snow tomorrow. If you were lucky enough to get to the store and buy your milk, eggs and bread before the shelves were cleared out, here’s your french toast recipe. Bonus cute sous chef.

Originally posted January 2014

This is a very simple recipe, but I needed a helper, for sure. All you need for this recipe is a good quality bread – I used 12 slices – 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, dash of cinnamon, dash of salt, 8 oz of cream cheese, strawberry jam and powdered sugar. You can spread anything you want on the bread, go for your favorites. I think peanut butter and jam would be really good.

Step One: In a bowl, add eggs, milk, cinnamon and salt and beat well.

Step Two: Roll the bread flat, just not too flat, so it’s easier to roll up.

Easy Peasy

Step Three: Spread cream cheese and jam in the center of the bread. Don’t get too close to the edges, because you don’t want it to squish out when you roll up.

Jam and Bread

Step Four: Roll bread up. You’ll want to do all of them before you start dipping and cooking.

Suisse Chef

Step Five: Melt butter in a skillet (adding more as needed as you cook)

Ready to dip

Step Six: Dip bread rolls one at a time quickly into the egg mixture, don’t let them soak. Then add them to the pan.

Rolled French Toast

Step Seven: Cook over medium heat, turning as each side browns, until the whole rolls is golden brown. Remove and immediately dust with powdered sugar. Repeat until all rolls are cooked.  We served 4 with twelve rolls and it was more than enough.

==========================

White Beans in Tomato Sauce with Sausage

 

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Not much to this one, I opened two cans of cannellini beans and a can of San Marzano tomatoes and dumped them into a pot in which I had browned some Italian sausages and sweated a diced onion in a little olive oil.  I removed the sausages after they had cooked in the sauce for a while and sliced them, in the photo they have just been returned to the pot.

I was pretty sure there was an actual recipe for this dish.  A search for white beans + tomatoes + sausage + recipe found several.  I noted that this recipe called for sage as a seasoning so I added some rubbed sage.  I already had bay leaves and some marjoram and dried basil and the garlic in mine.

Tidbits

DSC03131 (1600x1200)Gail, a six month old kitten, was introduced to her her new staff yesterday. After her approval  she allowed her new chauffeur to convey her to her new domain.DSC_5439 (1600x1060) We have no idea what this is.  It’s about the size of a softball and is made of various fibers.DSC_5441 (1600x1060)I suppose it’s possible that it’s just a windblown ball of fluff that has been caught by the branch but it does appear to have been purposely anchored there by several loops of the same fibers as it is built of.DSC_1749 (1600x1060)Mmm… sloppy joes!  I made a quick bean salad with a rice vinegar and olive oil dressing to go with it – based loosely on this recipe.DSC_1752 (1600x1060)I made corned beef the other day and ran the butt ends and scraps through a food processor just for this hash dish.  Frozen shredded potatoes make it a quick and delicious meal.  That’s hot sauce on the egg, I like a dash of Tabasco on mine. DSC_1727 (1600x1060)Gumbo is always a good idea.  This one has shrimp, chicken, and some of my homemade Andouille.  I still have a little bit left, sealed in vacuum bags and frozen.  Vacuum sealing is working out very well, pleased to have rediscovered the method.DSC_1723 (1600x1060)I made a quick batch of Italian sausage from some plain ground pork because I had my heart set on some and found none at all in the freezer.  I was sure I had some!20160130_114847[1] (1600x1060)I’ll make kitteh bookends to the post with this snap of Bea.  The cats have shredded the carpet on this old cat tree so Mrs J set it outside on the back porch, pending remediation.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Black “Forbidden” Rice

Pineapple riceI love rice. It’s a staple in my diet. I especially like brown rice and was very excited when brown jasmine and brown basmati were available at my local store. I make a big batch and refrigerate it for the week. It’s easy to warm it for a simple side. It also makes a quick lunch – heat it up, add some nuts, ponzu sauce, or butter, maybe leftover veggies and yum.

While rice is usually considered a side dish, I love it as a main course. That’s what most of tonight’s recipes are, including the featured recipe, which was inspired by a bag of black rice given to me by a friend. She wasn’t sure what to do with it and thought for sure I would. I didn’t, but had some fun experimenting.

To start off, pictured above is my Pineapple Rice Bowl, the complete dinner menu, recipes and shopping list are here.

Then there is Wash Day Beans and Rice, recipe here.

JeffreyW gives a great review on his Rice Cooker, click here and then uses it to make Fried Rice, recipe here.

What’s on your menu for the weekend? We have great weather right now, but snow is coming. Don’t forget to share your recipes, rice or otherwise, I’m always looking for something new.

Black rice 2a

Tonight’s featured recipe was inspired by a bag of black rice, also know as Emperor or Forbidden Rice, in my pantry. It’s a heritage grain and it has a complex flavor – it’s deep, nutty, savory, earthy. I had never even heard of it, much less tasted it. I cooked up a cup of it and it was love at first bite. But what to pair it with – it easily overwhelmed chicken and pork, and the flavors did not balance with beef. I did use it with some crumbled Spicy Italian sausage and that worked, the balance was right. What I thought it really needed was a citrus or vinegar pairing, some veggies, I wasn’t sure about nuts. Time to experiment.

Limes were on sale this week, so I settled on a citrus vinaigrette and fresh veggies paired with the rice (pictured above) for last night’s dinner and I think it worked out very well.  Walnuts worked well, cashews were overwhelmed by the rice. I served it warm, but it was good cold today.

Black “Forbidden”Rice with Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup black rice, rinsed
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • snow peas (or veggie of your choice)
  • tomatoes (grape tomatoes work well)
  • toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup fresh limejuice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • dash of orange juice
  • pinch of lime zest
  • dash of ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • honey to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

saucepan, serving bowl

In the saucepan, add rice and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and let simmer on low until all water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Cut snow peas into about four pieces each, half the grape tomatoes, and lightly chop the walnuts. (You’ll notice I had to settle for ripe on the vine tomatoes yesterday – no grapes to be found).

For the vinaigrette, whisk juices, vinegar, ginger and honey together. Drizzle in oil, whisking constantly. Give it a quick taste and add more ginger and honey as desired.

Toss rice and veggie mixture with vinaigrette and serve warm or refrigerate and serve cold.

That’s it for this week. Next week pull out your favorite Super Bowl snack recipes and we’ll focus on those for the recipe exchange. Have a good weekend – TaMara

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Dinner Menu: Pineapple Rice Bowls and Chocolate Torte

Pineapple rice2In an odd series of events, I was thinking about focusing on rice for this week’s recipe exchange and then pineapples were on sale  – less than a dollar a piece – which reminded me of this recipe which I haven’t make in quite a while. So tonight I made it for dinner for friends.

And just in time for National Chocolate Cake Day, the menu includes…CAKE!

Here is the original post from January 2011 (where does the time go?)

Tonight I’m putting together a menu from two different restaurant visits. Last Friday night Bad Horse and I were in Santa Monica looking for somewhere to have a late dinner. I wanted something light at a place that was neither trendy nor pretentious. Harder to find than you might think. We settled on a cute little Thai restaurant on Wilshire, near the beach. They had pineapple rice on the menu and that sounded like it would fit the bill. I was pleasantly surprised by the dish. First, they served it in a pineapple, which made me laugh and second it was hands-down better than the Ming Tsai recipe I posted a few months ago. I vowed to go home and recreate it. That is our main dish tonight. The dessert comes from a little Italian restaurant near my house where LFern and I had lunch, I believe for my birthday this summer. I ordered their always excellent carrot cake and she decided to try their chocolate torte. We both really liked the torte (ours is a friendship based on coffee and chocolate) and I said I’d try and recreate it for her. It’s 5 months later, but I finally got around to it.   Hopefully it will not disappoint her – I really liked it and had fun making it, twice.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pineapple Rice
  2. Snow Peas
  3. Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Pineapple Rice

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (about 2 cups uncooked) – I chose brown basmati
  • 4 strips of bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 boneless chicken breast, diced
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews (I like lots, your mileage may vary)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu

Wok or skillet

The reason I really like this recipe is how fresh it is. The last pineapple rice was heavy on spices and all the flavors blended together. It was good, but this one, with only pineapple juice and bit of ponzu added, really lets each flavor shine. Their version did not have bacon, but I love bacon and pineapple together, so I added it. You can omit the bacon and fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil instead. Personally, my shrimp ends up on Bad Horse’s plate, so I consider them an optional ingredient.

Coring the pineapple can be tricky. A friend has a pineapple corer and I wished I had one while I was making this recipe. You don’t need to serve it in pineapple bowls, but if you do, coring out the pineapple can be difficult. I cut off the stem to make a flat bottom, cut the pineapple in half, took out the core, scored the pineapple and scooped it out. By the time I was done, the rice had finished cooking, so it was time consuming.

Next you’ll want to fry the bacon until crisp, add chicken and fry on medium heat until it is cooked through. Add shrimp and let cook for 3-5 minutes, add remaining ingredients (including rice), mixing well over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. You want the pineapple and raisins to be warm, but not necessarily cooked. Serve in pineapple bowls with ponzu or soy sauce. Serves 4

Snow Peas

I served these raw because I liked the crisp contrast to the main course. You can lightly steam them if you desire, or even add them to the rice dish for a true one-dish meal.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

With this recipe, I made it two different times. The first time I separated the eggs, beat the whites until stiff and folded them in last. The second time I just beat the whole eggs until they were frothy. I actually liked the texture better the second way. You can do either. The directions below are for the latter cake.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, milk and butter together over low heat until a smooth mixture forms. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool.

In a blender, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add the Frangelino and gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, blending slowly until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and nuts and mix until just combined.

Bake for 45 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

Shopping List:

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu
  • Snow peas
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Also: baking powder, vanilla, sugar, milk or cream,

Sammich Pr0n- Corned Beef

20160118_152117[1] (1600x1060)I put this photo up the other day as a riff on using the cold weather to cool baked items.  It’s a loaf of rye bread.  When it cooled thoroughly I wrapped it and placed it into the freezer until today.DSC_1729 (1600x1060)A decent looking loaf!  I used it to serve up some reuben sandwiched for lunch:DSC_1730 (1600x1060)

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